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e-wing

Death by volcanic ash: mass mortality of shallow marine invertebrates. Help fund new paleontology research!

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e-wing

Hello!

I'm relatively new here, but I've been coming to this site for years to look at the great photos and read the discussions. I started this topic to share some of my own research that's going on right now about mass mortalities of marine invertebrates in Patagonia, Argentina. Over that past couple of years I've been working in Argentina, studying fossils (mostly decapods and mollusks) which were killed en masse by volcanic ash. We found some really interesting things in our first trip to the Valdes Peninsula, and documented that volcanic ash can have a killing effect on marine fauna even hundreds of kilometers away from the eruption! I'm also describing a new species of marine isopod that was found preserved in volcanic ash right now. This work is really exciting to me because there is a huge opportunity for new discovery. I hope to describe the numerous different effects volcanic ash has on marine ecosystems, and how they recover from catastrophic events. The ash also plays a really important role in fossil preservation processes, which I also hope to test and describe. I recently launched a "crowd funding" campaign on a website called experiment.com to help raise funds to go back to Argentina for a more comprehensive study of the mass kill sites we know about. If any of you are interested in learning more about the research, or donating to help support it, you can find a video, and other info at http://www.experiment.com/deathbyvolcanicash.

I'm also interested in any comments or thoughts anyone has on this topic. I'm always looking for new field sites which may involve volcanic activity and marine fossils, and my research is also more broadly related to mass mortality events in the fossil record in general, so if anyone has any insight into any of this, please comment! Also, if anyone is in the Cleveland area, I'll be giving a talk to a local fossil club on Saturday, May 7th, so if anyone is interested, let me know!

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e-wing

Here are a couple photos from our last trip to Argentina

post-20967-0-06466800-1462311856_thumb.jpg

Each arrow represents a fossil crab!

post-20967-0-13473200-1462311878_thumb.jpg

Here is what some of the volcanic ash looks like under the microscope. It's essentially just shards of broken glass, rock and mineral fragments. Nasty stuff.

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Raggedy Man

Hello and welcome to the forum. I look forward to reading about your research. I am curious about that isopod. I won't ask any specific questions about it, but are you able to divulge it's geological age? Thanks!

Best regards,

Paul

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joel77520

Sounds interesting...hope to hear more about your trip.

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Plax

the link works but a "bad font file" message comes up with a warning on my MAC. The text is all "A"s. A subject I'm interested in so a shame I can't see it.

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e-wing

Hello and welcome to the forum. I look forward to reading about your research. I am curious about that isopod. I won't ask any specific questions about it, but are you able to divulge it's geological age? Thanks!

Best regards,

Paul

Thanks! I'm glad you're interested. The isopod is early Miocene age. I'm excited about it too because isopods are so rare in the fossil record. This one even has a few appendages preserved, which is even more rare!

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e-wing

Thanks! Those are both great papers that I cited frequently in my recent manuscript. There's really not a lot out there about volcanic ash in the marine record, when compared to terrestrial.

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e-wing

the link works but a "bad font file" message comes up with a warning on my MAC. The text is all "A"s. A subject I'm interested in so a shame I can't see it.

Hmm, I don't know what the problem could be. I will try to get it figured out. Thanks for letting me know.

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Raggedy Man

The link works just fine for me(iOS, android, windows).

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Raggedy Man

Thanks! I'm glad you're interested. The isopod is early Miocene age. I'm excited about it too because isopods are so rare in the fossil record. This one even has a few appendages preserved, which is even more rare!

I went to your link and discovered the age was Miocene. To be honest, I was hoping you were going to say you couldn't divulge the info. This would of made me consider an isopod in the fossil record that predates the Pennsylvanian specimens found in the mazon creek records. However, describing a new Miocene isopod species is still fantastic. I will definitely keep an eye out for the publication.

Best regards,

Paul

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Mike Pocock

Very interesting post good luck with the project hope you can raise the funds you need.

Do you have any images of the fossil crabs.

Regards

Mike

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Raggedy Man

Very interesting post good luck with the project hope you can raise the funds you need.

Do you have any images of the fossil crabs.

Regards

Mike

If you visit his link and scroll down, it gives a detailed description of the research and images, crabs included.

Best regards,

Paul

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doushantuo
Plax

I'm curious about the state of the crabs in the volcanic sediment. Do you ever get molts or are all all of the crab fossils representative of complete dead specimens?

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e-wing

Thanks for all the great papers! I'm familiar with many of them, but a couple of them are new to me, which is fantastic! I have found the literature on marine responses to volcanic events to be very sparse when compared with the terrestrial world.

I'm particularly interested in the volcanic concretion paper, because I'm working on some concretions which are made entirely of volcanic glass shards right now, and there's some really neat chemistry and taphonomy going on with them. Thanks again!

Edited by e-wing

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e-wing

I'm curious about the state of the crabs in the volcanic sediment. Do you ever get molts or are all all of the crab fossils representative of complete dead specimens?

That's a good question, that I looked into a good deal. They are mostly all corpses in "life position" which suggests that they were rapidly killed and buried. Some exhibit what looks to be an "escape position" that suggests they were trying to climb out of the accumulating sediment. Many are just concordant with the bedding and look like they died going about their daily life! It's very interesting. We can look for evidence of mass molting, which has been seen in some other crustacean fossil assemblages (I've seen isopods in mass molt assemblages), but we see no evidence of that here. Crabs exhibit a predictable molting position called Salter's position, which makes molts distinguishable from corpses. In our case there's no evidence of Slater's position.

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doushantuo

Any taphofacies analysis yet?

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